3D Sex And Zen to be shown here uncut

By Jill Alphonso

[Actress Saori Hara and actor Hiro Haayanan star in Hong Kong's 3D Sex And Zen, which opens in Singapore cinemas on July 21.]

SINGAPORE - Things are going to get very steamy in cinemas, come July 21.

That's the day Hong Kong's first 3-D erotic comedy, 3D Sex And Zen, will hit Singapore screens, movie distributor Golden Village (GV) said yesterday.

And surprise, surprise – no scenes have been cut from the film for Singapore, GV said.

Movie audiences here will be able to see 3D Sex And Zen's full international version, which received the R21 rating from the Singapore Board of Film Censors (BFC).

Yet the international version of the film comes in at 102 minutes, though the full, original version of the film by director Christopher Sun clocked in at 135 minutes. And the Hong Kong cut clocked in at a reported 129 minutes.

A GV spokesman said that the version for Singapore came straight from the movie's distributor, One Dollar Distribution, in Hong Kong.

The spokesman added that, in general, movies tend to have several different versions, with needs of different markets taken into consideration.

Still, the Hong Kong version of the film suffered some cuts from the original reel, director Sun told The Bangkok Post earlier this month, explaining that censors thought some shots were too explicit.

And, in an earlier report, executive producer Stephen Shiu Jr told The Hollywood Reporter that due to strict censorship in Singapore, he and Sun axed various graphic sex scenes, such as those linking religion and sex (a scene with a woman seducing a monk, for instance, was axed) to assemble a tamer version. The same version will be released in India, Shiu added.

Singaporeans will be able to watch 3D Sex And Zen in selected cinema multiplexes where R21 films are allowed to be screened.

A 2-D version may also be released.

The film was sent to the BFC for approval in April.

The movie, starring Japanese porn stars Hara Saori and Suo Yukiko and Hong Kong actress Vonnie Liu, is a remake of a 1991 Hong Kong movie, Sex And Zen, and tells the story of a sexually frustrated Chinese scholar who becomes enchanted with the harem of a duke he befriends.

The US$3.5-million (S$4.4-million) Cantonese-language production debuted in Hong Kong on April 14, and beat the opening-day box-office record previously held by James Cameron's 3-D sci-fi epic Avatar with a first-day take of US$360,000.

It went on to post strong results in Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand. The rights have been bought for the film to be shown in the United States as well.

Though 3D Sex And Zen has been widely viewed, with some from China travelling to Hong Kong to catch it, not all viewers have embraced the racy film, criticising it for a laughable plot and special effects.

Still, many here are applauding Singapore censors for approving the film.

Miss Sali Tay, 22, a travel agent, said that the film being shown in Singapore is an indication that "we have an open culture – one that is not closed and reserved".

Likewise, Mr Timothy Tan, who is serving national service, noted that "such content used to be socially unacceptable and was censored". The 22-year-old added: "Even if some scenes have been cut, I think it paves the way for more freedom of expression in the future."

Others like Miss Sharon Carvalho, 34, a marketing communications executive, said that some people would view the content of the film as artistic, while others would see it as pornographic.

"(Personally), I don't really care, as long as the storyline is good," she said. "I will form my opinion only after watching the film."

3D Sex And Zen opens in cinemas on July 21. It will be shown in selected cinema multiplexes.



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